🧑🏾‍💻 prep

Prep - Public Speaking / Circles of Influence 🔗

Learning Objectives


A4 paper and a pen.

A friend or family member who is willing to listen to your short talk


There are two required pieces of prep for the session this week: building your initial circles of influence and preparing to give a short talk.

Circles of Influence

🎯 Goal: Distinguish the concerns in your life between those you can control or influence and those that you cannot affect (30 minutes)

‘Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference’. 

-- Reinhold Niebuhr

Recognising the difference between the things you can change and those you can’t will help you build your resilience. At times, we all focus on things that affect us but that we cannot control or even influence. This reduces our resilience because we expend energy on things we cannot change instead of investing it in the things over which we do have control. 

The Circles of Influence idea (developed by Stephen Covey in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) can help you identify which things in your life you can control or influence and which you can’t. 

  • Proactive people…..’work on things they can do something about. The nature of their energy is positive, enlarging and magnifying’ 
  • ‘Reactive people…..focus on the weaknesses of other people, the problems in the environment, and the circumstances over which they have no control. Their focus results in blaming and accusing attitudes, …and increased feelings of victimisation.’ 


  1. Take one sheet of paper and write a list of all the things that concern you and you spend time thinking about.  This could include your career, finances, health and that of your family and friends, national or global politics, the environment… Anything that can cause you worry.
  2. On a second sheet of paper, draw a large outside circle labeled “Circle of Concern”, inside that a smaller circle labelled “Circle of Influence”, and inside that another circle labelled “Circle of Control”.  Copy your concerns from the first sheet of paper into the appropriate area of your Circles of Influence.

You will work further on your Circles of Influence in the session on Saturday, so make sure you bring it with you.

Public speaking prep

🎯 Goal: Prepare a THREE-minute talk on a topic you are very familiar with and confident about (30 minutes)

Think of ONE topic that might be suitable for your short talk. It must be something you are VERY confident and comfortable with and does not have to be technical. For example, it could be about some particular cooking method or simple recipe, a favourite hobby or sport, or tourist tips for a place you love. You will not use slides or any other props.  

For your topic, think of THREE key messages that are the most important. For example, if your topic was “How to create the perfect poached egg”, your three messages might be: 1) how to prepare the water; 2) the best way to crack the egg; 3) how long to cook it.

Do some quick (<10 minutes) internet research on HOW to deliver short talks to small groups.  Some things you might consider:

  • Organise your talk:  tell them what you will say to them;
  • Know your audience: think about what they might already know and what is important for them to understand from your talk.
  • Connect to your audience with an example or short story. Interact with them by asking closed questions.
  • Control your voice: speak clearly, not too fast, and leave pauses for your audience to think.
  • Manage nervousness: start with some deep breaths, a big smile, and focus on your message, not you.
  • Work on body language: maintain good posture, keep eye contact, and use hand gestures.
  • Be authentic: just be you!  People intuitively recognise when someone is just talking as their natural, authentic self, and they will trust and connect with you better.

Practice your three-minute talk with a friend or family member. Check that it takes three minutes or less. Ask your friend what they liked about your talk, and one thing that might improve it.